Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Eight days of wonderful

Of course, the week leading up to the eight wonderful days was filled with stress and buckets of tears as I said my final goodbyes to my sweet little Winnie. I can’t believe how quiet the house is without her; that will take a lot of time to get used to.

winnie2

Thankfully, being in Susan Khalje’s Couture Boot Camp kept nearly every one of my brain cells busy for six glorious days. This was my little corner of the world for the week. Robin sat right in front of me. Another week and we would have been finishing each others’ sentences!

mylittlecorner

Left to right: Louise is a beginner of two years and lives not far from me in Vero Beach. She dove right into the deep end of the pool with a beautiful Marfy sheath dress. In front of her is Jeanne who made a beautiful Alencon lace jacket underlined in charmeuse and then moved on to a linen blouse with a fagotted neckline.

Then we have Diana who made a stunning two-piece dress consisting of a bias camisole with a cowl neckline and a long cascade-ruffled skirt for her daughter’s wedding.

louisejeannediana

Here we have FIT-trained Kimberly working on a gown of her own design. I’ll never drive by a Starbucks again without thinking of her! Some people run on Dunkin’ and others need a good Green Tea Soy Latte, ya know?

kimberly

Supermom Anna made a strapless silk charmeuse evening gown for her daughter’s prom (that’s her form – made by Anna, of course!). The gown is stunning as it is but will be hand-beaded later. I get tired just thinking about that!

anna

As if she needs any introduction, here is the adorable Gretchen of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing with Best Baster Barb behind her.

gertiebarb

The delightful twins, Debby and Dianna. I fell in love with this little Givenchy number from the 1980s. I’ll be making one for myself sometime this year.

twins

givenchy

Last, but certainly not least, our fearless leader Susan advising Robin on her beautiful guipure lace jacket. Notice Susan’s Million Dollar Suitcase in the background, full of treasures to make you gasp!

susanrobin

As if this wasn’t already more fun than a girl could handle, I came home and had the loveliest weekend in a fitting workshop with two of my students. Fit, fit, fit. Fit, fit, fit. Fit your pattern, fit your pattern. Sing it, KC!

I have to apologize for the terrible quality of my photos. “New camera” has been moved to the very top of my wish list! I simply can’t subject you, my dear readers, to these substandard photos any longer. I still have many more Boot Camp photos to post so stay tuned!

22 Comments

Filed under Couture Boot Camp, Miscellaneous

Simplicity 2443 – Part III

This pattern calls for ribbon to be used for the front tie closures. As an exercise in futility I went to JoAnn’s this morning to see, if by chance, they had twill tape that would match. Hahahaha (snort). So, I decided to cut 2″ wide strips of self-fabric on the bias. That worked well but then I had to decide how to finish the ends. Normally, I would either tie a knot or use a cord end or bead. A cord end was out of the question because, with eight ties, that’s a lot of extra weight on one side of a lightweight jacket.

I experimented with knots with raw edges exposed or tucked in and decided it would just be too much. The last option was to tuck in the ends and hand sew them shut. It took awhile but I think it was worth the effort.

knots

I’m going to leave the bodice on the dressform while I begin working on the sleeves. I still have to decide what to do with those welts.

fronts

House update: Tile, tile, tile. We are breaking up the 18×18 tiles with 4×4 tumbled marble. Jim says otherwise it ends up looking like a mausoleum (which wouldn’t be nice). I LOVE it and can’t wait to take a shower in here.

tile

9 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2443 – Part II

I just returned from spending the weekend in Dunellon. We were supposed to go up on Valentine’s Day weekend but had to cancel because of the accident. We enjoyed a lovely belated Valentine’s Day dinner with Bryan’s parents on Saturday night and then headed home late yesterday morning.

My asthma is in high gear today so I’ve stayed home but that isn’t preventing me from doing a little sewing. The steam from my iron is good for me, don’t you think?

This is a very easy jacket, really. However, extra care must be taken with all of the details on the front. Namely, making sure that everything matches and lines up properly. A trick I learned from Marta Alto years ago is to lay the fronts on top of each other. This is a foolproof way to make sure everything lines up.

alignment

Since this jacket is unlined and linen is so ravelly, I decided to use flat-felled seams whenever possible. The bonus is that flat-felled seams provide nice structure and support to the garment.
back

I’m pleased with the way the fronts look with the exception of that funky little welt doohickey between the pockets. Honestly, I’m not sure if I want to remove it altogether or replace it with something else.

fronts

House update: The first – and most important – row of tiles has gone in. Tomorrow the real work begins.

tile

I have to express my frustration with my mortgage company. When you have a lot of damage to your home, the mortgage company is listed as one of the payees on all checks so they have to sign off before anyone can get paid. And they seem to love taking their sweet time about it! And, to make matters worse, they somehow expect me to make 90% of the repairs with 20% of the money. If I could figure out a way to do that I’d be in high demand on the public speaking circuit, wouldn’t I?

11 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2443

I’m moving on to this adorable little jacket from Cynthia Rowley. It’s unlined and just the thing to wear over a tank this summer. Plus it has lots of little pieces that’ll be perfect to work on in small blocks of time.

Notice the Year of the Jacket ticker in the sidebar. 12 jackets? I hope I can do it!

simplicity2443

I am going to work with this beautiful Ellen Tracy linen that I bought at Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics a few years ago.

linen

DAILY (oh, how I love that!) HOUSE PROGRESS:

The plasterer is applying the skim coat as we speak.

plasterer

The tile chipper has been going all day in my bathroom. Getting this terra cotta tile out has proven to be pretty difficult (how great that I don’t have to do it!) but the demo should be finished tomorrow so the tile man can start on Monday. I want to add another cubby to the shower over the weekend and get a plumber out to do the preliminary work for new faucets.

shower

The window company was also out this morning to measure for the new French doors. You know, I was very apprehensive about letting someone else manage this project for me but now I am so glad I did because things are moving along like clockwork!

11 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Another McCall’s 5984 – Final

It’s been a pretty stressful week and I was glad to have something to work on to take my mind off of everything else. Although at times it was not easy to concentrate with all the noise!

front

The only thing I still have to take care of are the closures. I didn’t get around to calling Pacific Trimming about snaps and then Els suggested I try buttons. I’ll play around with that tomorrow.

As I mentioned before, I eliminated the inverted pleat at the back. This not only cut down on sewing time but also gives this jacket a different look from the first one. If you do this, don’t forget to add an ease pleat to your lining.

back

Ordinarily, I would catchstitch the upper and under collar seams together from the inside but this boucle hides stitches so well that I was able to ditch-stitch from the right side.

collarstitching

Again, I added a hanging chain. I wasted so much time yesterday looking for the leftover chain from the first jacket. I remember putting it away but don’t remember where. Last night I finally went back to Michael’s and bought more.

hangchain

The hole in my house has finally been repaired – yay! Concrete block was laid in the center of the hole and is flanked by rebar-reinforced poured concrete columns. I just love the little funnels attached to the top of the plywood forms.

wall

It looks really good from the inside.

inside

I decided not to redo the cedar closet. It was something that my ex wanted and it will feel nice to have one less bit of him in the house. I need to start looking at closets to get some idea of what to do in here.

closet

I had no trouble picking out new tile. I wanted Travertine but also wanted something really durable and low maintenance. I was thrilled to find this porcelain tile that looks like natural stone so I can have the look without worrying about staining and periodic resealing. I propped it against my tumbled Travertine backsplash and I think it looks amazingly realistic.

tile

My cat Ricki has been completely stressed out since work began on Monday and has been hiding under one bed or another. Kanga, the lady of the house, has been totally pissed off. She just lays on the sofa and tries to put voodoo curses on the workers.

kanga

Winnie Whiskers, OTOH, was completely undisturbed by the noise and commotion. She’s so ladylike, isn’t she?

whiskers

Tomorrow I have to shop for faucets and moldings. I’m thinking of upgrading all of my door casings in the bathroom so I’ll need to get that done before tiling begins.

20 Comments

Filed under McCall's, Miscellaneous, Year of the Jacket

Merry CHRISTmas?

WARNING: Rant ahead! I don’t do it often but several things have happened this week that have really upset me. This just needs to be said.

My tree’s been up since the first of November, the switch was flipped on my exterior lights before Thanksgiving and I never de-Christmas my house until after Epiphany. I have always loved Christmas and the magic of the holiday season. I wish my Christian friends a Merry Christmas and my Jewish friends a Happy Hannukah. If I’m unsure, Happy Holidays is a safe way to spread cheer, or (gasp) is it? I really do resent being reminded that it’s “Merry CHRISTmas” when I wish someone a Happy Holiday. Since when did Christians have the exlusive right to the month of December? I spent my childhood in parochial school and do not need to be reminded that we are celebrating the birth of Christ. However, apparently some “Christians” need to be reminded that they are not the center of the universe and that there are actually people out there with beliefs different from theirs. According to the dictionary, a Christian is not only a believer in Christ but also “exhibits a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ”. Hmm, it sounds like some people need to dust off their bibles and really think about what this means. Let’s please remember that this country was founded on religious freedom and tolerance. And, most importantly, good manners and graciousness trump all. If someone wishes you a Happy Holiday, please just smile and accept it in the spirit with which it was intended.

48 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous

Just for you, Ann!

Ann wants to hang ornaments on a real palm tree. Well, here you go, darling, a bit of Christmas cheer from the tropics! But, seriously, it’s 9 p.m. and 85F outside (in the middle of December!) – I’d happily trade it for a few snowflakes. Come to think of it, maybe we should swap house for a week every winter. :-)

robellini

9 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous